The power of stuff or where do ideas come from #3

"Photos’re better than
nothing, but things’re better than photos ‘cause the things themselves were part
of what was there"

David Mitchell, Black Swan Green.

Suggesting clients
source an object to prompt ideas is always a big ask. Asking anyone to bring along
anything always overloads the task.  People agonise. What will this  say about me? How will I be read? Is it sufficiently
intriguing, esoteric, exotic, intellectual… (substitute whatever you worry
about when someone asks you to choose an object)

No doubt
though that objects are a fantastic starting point for idea generation. Objects
have an emotional resonance. They were part of a real story. They hold memories.
Their weight and feel engage our senses. Their presence and significance can never
be replicated by a photo. They offer potential for metaphor and provide stimuli
for linking to an apparently unrelated subject. They can generate genuinely new
connections to seemingly unrelated worlds through structured linking tasks.

Show a
group of teenage boys a baby’s gas mask from World War 2. It will teach them far
more than a text book. I know- I’ve seen it happen 

Black Swan
Green- recommend thoroughly by the way. Park your Booker prejudices. Mitchell
has a composer’s ear for dialogue. His attention to rhythm, vernacular and idiosyncrasy
create characters that jump off the page, nick your curly whirly and ride off
on a BMX, flicking the v’s. (He could teach many a presenter a thing or two
about writing as you speak.)

A bit of an indulgent 80s nostalgia trip. Describes a- year -in- the -life of a bullied teenage poet, struggling to deal both
with his stammer, and the emerging
Falklands debacle. Not obliviously a page turner I know
but empathetic, honest, hilarious.   

And full of
great descriptions of stuff.

17th May, 2007